14 Ways Sports Parents Can Greatly Influence Their Young Athletes

Photo Credit: Jim Larrison

Photo Credit: Jim Larrison

Well folks, it getting to be that time of year again when a variety of sports begin: soccer, football, tennis, etc. The start of the fall sports season also signals the involvement of thousands upon thousands of eager little athletes as they take the fields and get ready for action.

Along with these adolescent competitor, will be a host of parents who will either be spectators or coaches. Today’s blog, has to do mainly with the moms, dads, and relatives who will be watching the festivities on the sideline.

Many of you know that I have been a teacher and coach for over 30 years. I have coached and taught at just about every age level throughout my career. It was once said that if a person loves what they do, they never work a day in their life…and you know what? That’s the way I feel..I love what I do.

So, today I decided to share with you (if you are a parent of a young athlete) 14 “keys” that can help parents be a positive influence in their young athletes lives. I found this list from a college basketball coach who got this list from someone else…therefore the author of this list is unknown but very, very good!!

Please feel free to share this list with anyone who you feel could use it!!

Tell your child every time that you watch them play, “I loved watching you play!”: Please think about how that would make you feel! I know that that would make anybody feel great!

Do not soften the blow for your child after a loss: If they lose, teach them not to make excuses, to learn from the loss and move on. Many times the players move from the loss quicker then the parents. We get better through set-backs if we face our challenges head on. It also makes us mentally tougher and resilient…two important life skills.

Do not coach your child: Coaching your child may confuse your child. Allow them to experience how to deal with others. Encourage your child to listen to their coach. The #1 advice I could give a parent is to find a program where you agree with the philosophy of the coach and then allow them to coach. A very simple definition of each person’s role puts it into perspective: Players=Play, Coaches=Coach, Parents=Support, Officials=Officiate. Make sure to play your role well and not someone else’s role.

Teach them to be a part of something greater than themselves: Teach them this by applauding their effort and their ability to be coached. Do not coach them to look to score, “take over” the game, show-off their talent, shoot more, or run-up the score. If you teach them to be “me” players, they will miss the experience of being part of a team. Teamwork teaches humility and makes life work…all players need to learn it.

Do not approach your child’s coach about playing time: Encourage your child to speak with their coach. A coach should be honest with their players about where they stand and what they need to do to improve. Your job is not to approach the coach about playing time. Your child needs to learn to advocate for themselves and learn how to communicate with others. Remember that a player being a valuable member of the team is important…it is not all about playing time. Also, they may be a less experienced player and may need to develop. Many players do not come into their own until their senior year.

Do not compare your child to others, but encourage them to be the best that they can be! If a parent is constantly trying to have their child be better than someone else, the child will always be second best…but if you encourage your child to be the best that they can be and compete to be that way everyday, they will get better and they will reach their potential.

Cheer for all!…AND never speak negatively about your child, another child or a coach: We would not want anyone to speak negatively about our child, so do not speak of someone else’s child in a detrimental manner.

Be Self-Disciplined: Sports can be very emotional…they can bring out the best in us and the worst in us if we are not careful. Keep your emotions under control. Would you want someone yelling at you from the stands? Would you want someone yelling at you from work?

Let it be your child’s experience: In order to do so, we must acknowledge that we cannot control the experience of our child…that’s why it is called an experience. When we experience something we will have good times and bad times, great moments and average plays, we will deal with victory and defeat…allow your child to experience these highs and lows in sport which will allow them to experience the ups and downs of life…if we try to control the experience, our child is not being prepared for life.

Teach them to play for the love of the game (NOT A TROPHY): Teach your child that they are playing for the love of the game, for their teammates, for the love of competition. Think about if you could teach your child to be a great competitor, a great teammate and love what they do…that would be special!! In youth sports, we need to get away from the fact that everyone gets a trophy…if we do, we are teaching them to play for the reward rather then understanding that the reward is playing the game itself.

Focus on process: Sports like life are a process and we need to attack the process everyday to               grow and get better. The process is hard work, knowledge, attitude, perseverance,                                        teamwork, coachability, dealing with success and failure…and winning is the by-product…in sports             and in life!

Enjoy the journey of your child: Any journey we take is bound to have great moments,some bad moments, and some moments that we laugh at….enjoy the journey with your childand do not agonize over every single play, a decision by the coach, a good or bad game by the team or your child. In 25 years, you will wish you were watching your child play…so enjoy the journey!

Be a parent, not a fan: Your child will make mistakes, your child is not always perfect. Teach them when the time is right and make sure to compliment them when needed.

Do not make excuses: “The teacher or coach does not like me” is a familiar excuse…in the end, coaches like children that play hard, are coachable, have a great attitude, show perseverance, are a good teammate, and know how to deal with success and failure in positive ways…the important thing is to teach your child all of these attributes!,

Words of Wisdom of Legendary Coach Pat Summit

Photo Credit: Tennessee Journalist

Photo Credit: Tennessee Journalist

Well-known and respected women’s college basketball coach, Pat Summit, died a few days ago, at the age of 64, five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She was the head coach of the University of Tennessee’s basketball team and won more games than any other basketball coach in Division 1 history with 1.098 wins, 8 NCAA National Championships, and NEVER has a losing season. In their list of the top 50 coaches of all-time, the Sporting News placed her at number 11. She was truly an American icon!

As a coach (and teacher) I like to find good quotes and other tid-bits of information from successful individuals and Coach Summit was no exception. I decided to share with you many of the quotes that she stated over the years. It is my hope that you can discover some inspiration from some of the quotes and share them with others!

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Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you’re never wrong?

Loyalty is not unilateral. You have to give it to receive it.

Surround yourself with people who are better than you are. Seek out quality people, acknowledge their talents, and let them do their jobs. You win with people.

Value those colleagues who tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.

Communication eliminates mistakes.

We communicate all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Be aware of body language.

Discipline yourself, so no one else has to.

Self discipline helps you believe in yourself.

Group discipline produces a unified effort toward a common goal.

Discipline helps you finish a job, and finishing is what separates excellent work from average work.

Put the Team Before Yourself.

When you understand yourself and those around you, you are better able to minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths. Personality profiles help.

Success is about having the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Know your strengths, weaknesses, and needs.

Teamwork doesn’t come naturally. It must be taught.

Teamwork allows common people to obtain uncommon results.

Not everyone is born to lead. Role players are critical to group success.

Make Winning an Attitude.

Attitude is a choice. Maintain a positive outlook.

No one ever got anywhere by being negative.

Confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed.

Competition isn’t social. It separates achievers from the average.

You can’t always be the most talented person in the room. But you can be the most competitive.
There is nothing wrong with having competitive instincts. They are survival instincts.

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts the most.

Change equals self improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before.

Handle Success Like You Handle Failure. You can’t always control what happens, but you can control how you handle it.

Sometimes you learn more from losing than winning. Losing forces you to reexamine.

It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb, Continue to seek new goals.

There is no such thing as self respect without respect for others.

Individual success is a myth. No one succeeds all by herself.

People who do not respect those around them will not make good team members and probably lack self esteem themselves.

Being responsible sometimes means making tough, unpopular decisions.

18 Famous Quotes of Muhammad Ali

Ian Rensley

Photo Credit: Ian Rensley via CC Flickr

America and the world lost a great human being a few days ago at the passing of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. Ali rose to prominence in the 1960’s and 1970’s when he not only became the world heavyweight boxing champion, but also became a advocate for peace and accepted people of all races, religions, and beliefs…despite proclaiming himself as a Muslim and giving himself over to the nation of Islam.

Ali was a unique sports figure. He not only was one of the top, well-known athletes of his time but he was also known around the world. Unlike many well-known athletes of today, he infused poetry, wisdom, and humor together to spread his message of peace and unity around the globe. His humorous quips are known around the globe.

So, in today’s blog, I decided to list some of Muhammad Ali’s famous quotes for you to ponder, think about, smile, and maybe, in some small way, apply to your everyday life!

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  1. To be a champion, you must believe that you are the best. If not, pretend you are.
  2. It is lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges.
  3. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.
  4. It isn’t the mountain ahead of you that will wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
  5. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
  6. It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am.
  7. Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.
  8. Impossible is not a fact. It is an option.
  9. Inside a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It is staying down that’s wrong.
  10. The man who has no imagination has no wings.
  11. I am the greatest, I knew that before I knew I was.
  12. Don’t count the days; make them count.
  13. Not only do I knock them down, I pick the round.
  14. I should be a postage stamp, that’s the only way I ever get licked.
  15. Last week, I murdered a rock, I injured a stone, hospitalized a brick, I am so mean, I make medicine sick!
  16. A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
  17. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
  18. Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.

Finding Strength in Difficult Times: The Story of the Hero and the Coward

Arash Hashemi

Photo Credit: Arash Hashemi via Wikimedia Commons

We all experience difficult times throughout our lifetime. Some are more trying and problematic than others but through them all, we can learn from those experiences, either in a negative or a positive manner. Legendary NFL football coach, Bill Parcells, once told the following story (paraphrased a little) that illustrated the power of perseverance and determination of an athlete that experienced a grueling and challenging situation and emerged a winner because of it.

More than 30 years ago, there was a well-known, hard hitting boxer named Eugene “the Cyclone” Hart. Hart was heavily favored to win his next bout against a supposedly ungifted puncher, Vita Antuofermo. It was said that the only thing that Antuofermo could do was that “he bled well.” But, here’s the important thing, he had good attributes that you couldn’t see.”

During the fight, Hart dominated Antuofermo, knocking him all over the ring, giving him punishing blows and vicious punches. Antuofermo absorbed the punishment that was dealt to him by his naturally superior opponent, and he did it so well, that Hart became discouraged. In the fifth round, Hart began to tire, not physically but mentally. Taking advantage of the situation, Antuofermo attacked and delivered a series of quick punches that knocked Hart down and out, thus ending the fight.

“When the fighters went back to their makeshift locker rooms, only a thin curtain was between them. Hart’s room was quiet, but on the other side he could hear Antuofermo’s cornerman talking about who would take the fighter to the hospital. Finally he heard Antuofermo say, “every time he hit me with that left hook to the body, I was sure I was going to quit. After the second round, I thought if he hit me there again, I’d quit. I thought the same thing after the fourth round. Then he didn’t hit me no more.”

“At that moment, Hart began to weep. It was really soft at first. Then harder. He was crying because for the first time he understood that Antuofermo had felt the same way he had and worse. The only thing that separated the guy talking from the guy crying was what they had done. The coward and the hero had the same emotions. They’re both humans.”

The important question to ask yourself here is this: how did each man respond to the tough situation that they were experiencing? Maybe you are in an arduous position right now or, if not, one might be coming. How will you react? Like a hero or a coward?

The Day Jim Brown Fought Muhammad Ali

Sportsgrid

Photo Credit: Sportsgrid.com

Here’s an interesting account of the day Hall of Fame footballer, Jim Brown fought boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.

I think we have all wondered at some time in our lives what it would be like if two super heroes got together and fought it out. Superman vs. Iron Man. The Rock vs. The Incredible Hulk. Batman vs. Captain America. But what about famous sports stars or Hall of Famers?

This is an amazing story, written by Ryan Wilson, that I found a while ago, about two of the greatest athletes of all time and the one time that they faced off against each other. This is a short but fascinating account of this meeting.

During his nine-year playing career, Hall of Famer and former Browns running back Jim Brown was known for his unmatched athleticism and legendary toughness. Not only was he the best player of his era, he was one of the best players ever. In addition to what he accomplished on the football field, in college at Syracuse, Brown was a second-team All-American in basketball and a first-team All-American in lacrosse.

Given that he excelled at just about anything he tried, it’s not surprising that Brown briefly considered boxing after he retired from the NFL in 1965 at the age of 29. Specifically: Brown wanted to get in the ring with then-heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. And not just for a sparring match but for a full-on fight.

Brown had introduced promoter Bob Arum to Ali, so Arum felt that he owed Brown the courtesy of at least checking with the heavyweight champ to gauge his interest. This was 1966, Brown was a year removed from football and pursuing his acting career, and Ali was 24 and in his prime.

So Arum took Brown’s message to the champ. The details, via this fantastic profile of Arum (who turns 81 Saturday) by Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix.

“So I went to talk to Ali,” Arum told Mannix. “He says, ‘Jim wants to do what? Bring him here.’ So I took him to Hyde Park in London, where Ali used to run. Ali said, ‘Jimmy, here’s what we’re going to do: You hit me as hard as you can.’ So Brown starts swinging and swinging, and he can’t hit him. He’s swinging wildly and not even coming close. This goes on for, like, 30 seconds. Then Ali hits him with this quick one-two to his face. Jimmy just stops and says, ‘OK, I get the point.'”

Think about that for a second. Jim Brown — who routinely trucked some the biggest, strongest and fastest athletes on the planet — couldn’t even touch Ali…that is mind-blowing!

 

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Read more stories on my publications site at http://www.broowaha.com/articles/16465/the-day-jim-brown-fought-muhammad-ali#EVlu8v6MHMLYFI2b.99

Hey Coach

Photo Credit: Lesley Show via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Lesley Show via CC Flickr

I have been a coach of many sports on all levels for 30 years. For most o those years, I coached three sports a season in a row. People used to ask me, “how can you do that?” “How do you find the energy to be able to coach so much? spend so much time with players and not get tired of it?”

Well, world famous author, Mark Twain, once said this, “If you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.”  This quote is one of my favorite of all time because it is so true. I have truly enjoyed every season that I have coached my players.

Besides the joys of victory and the agony of defeat of the games on the field, it’s the everyday coaching, teaching, and building relationships with people on a daily basis, that makes the job so rewarding. There is nothing that means more to me than when a player (or parent) tells you how much they learned the sport, enjoyed their experience, or other things that may have touched their lives.

I recently came across the following “Letter to a Coach” on FaceBook that I thought would give you a glimpse of what players sometimes say to a coach and illustrate why the profession of coaching is so fulfilling. 

~ Coach Muller


Since I have graduated high school there is one phrase that I miss saying more than I ever thought I would. “Hey Coach” left my lips at least once a day. Anyone who has  ever had a coach knows just how important they are. I’m sure everyone will say that their coach is the best. But this post is not about the coaches you’ve had. This is about mine. If I wrote just how much one person has changed my life, this post would be unreasonably long. But it is crazy to me that one person can do so much.

What makes a good coach? Well, don’t ask me! I’m a little too picky, grumpy, and “my way or the highway”.

What makes a good coach? My coach.  My coach has pushed me to success, and pushed me to tears. My coach has been a parent figure when times got tough, my best friend when we could celebrate our wins, and a shoulder to literally cry on. When we succeeded my coach succeeded. When we failed we knew we let coach down.  But that never stopped coach from loving us.

What makes a good coach? Compassion. I never doubted the love coach had for me. Not one day went by without my coach showing, or telling me how much I was appreciated.

What makes a good coach? Coaches leave their family, and dedicate their time to the people and the sport they love, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it. Missing vacations, birthdays, and so much more, to give their time and love to us, even when we are ungrateful.

What makes a good coach? Everything my coach was, and everything I will be because of it.  One single person can change your life. And I know my coach changed my life for the best.

I’m trying to be like my coach. Hard, yet soft, harsh but loving, a rock, a shoulder to cry on.

I don’t know how to even thank someone, who has done what they have done for me. I know I will never be able to repay coach for the things done.

If you had a coach who changed you, please, go thank them. If you have a coach now. Go now,and thank them.

You don’t know how much they sacrifice for you, and for your team.  I love you coach. I love you for pushing me, I love you for accepting me, I love you for caring about me without fail. I love you for still caring even when new team mates have taken my place. I love you for being you.

Thank you.

Taming the Foolish Child

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Tim Oiler via CC Flickr

A little while ago, I came across a great story told by Rudy Ruettiger, a renowned player for the Notre Dame football that inspired his squad for years with his determination and work ethic. Hollywood eventually made a motion picture about his exploits and help to inspire thousands of people around the world.

In the following story, Rudy tells a touching story of him and his father and how a certain situation turned his life around…forever.

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Notre Dame is a legendary place. A spot on the team means a chance at great fame. Rudy Ruettiger is a legend himself. He made the Notre Dame class. He then went on to become the heart of the Fighting Irish. His dad, Daniel Ruettiger, was a war hero and legendary dad. 14 kids. Married a world-class mom. Worked three jobs. Yet he always found time to attend his kids’ games.

“Bullied, badgered and mad, I became a rebel in school. Sophomore year it came to ahead. I befriended a rough kid who well could have spelled my end. A big fight was planned for that Friday night. My friend said, ‘Rudy, we’re tough. Let’s go.’

I foolishly agreed. I had a big head. It was a chance to show off. I’d smear those kids who had made me so mad.

I waited until the family was fast asleep. Quietly, I slid out of bed, pulled on my clothes, and tiptoed to the back door. I was careful not to make a sound.

Dad knew something was up. He cut me off at the door. With his hand on my shoulder, he insisted we talk.

I admitted where I was headed. The kids we would fight had belittled us. It was our turn to teach em’ some stuff.

That’s when Dad rescued my future, and maybe my life. He replied, ‘You are no man when a meaningless fight is your way. You become a man by knowing when to walk away. Learn it now and remember.’

I’m blessed that Dad stayed up to catch me that night. Bad news came the next day. Several were badly hurt in the fray. With a blow to the head, my friend was now dead.

It could have been me, or I might have been cuffed and taken away. Either way, that would have spelled the end of my dream – no Notre Dame.

Dad, you were the best: You taught me to stop the big talk; to get in life’s game, then go out and fight to make the big plays. You taught me to know when to walk away.”

By: Rudy Ruettiger

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~  Proverbs 1:8